Profile Differences of Users of Paved Versus Natural-Surface Trails

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The goal of this study was to examine activity behavior differences between users of natural-surface versus paved trails.


The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) direct observation instrument was used to measure activity and demographic information. Survey data were used to compare perception difference and body mass index (BMI) values among trail users.


Significantly more paved-trail users were female (F = 10.63, P = .001). A larger percentage of paved-trail users reported it to be very safe (F = 4.462, P = .036). Natural-surface-trail users participated in more vigorous activity (F = 83.93, P = .000). Natural-surface-trail users reported participating in longer activity bouts (F = 5.133; P = .024).


Natural-surface-trail users engaged in more vigorous activity, for a longer duration, and had lower self-reported BMI values.

Reed and Arant are with the Dept of Health and Exercise Science, Furman University, Greenville SC, 29613. Morrison is with the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.